Eco-Journey is the blog of the Environmental Ministries Office of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). It includes a wide array of environmental topics: upcoming environmental events, links to interesting articles and studies, information on environmental advocacy, eco-theology topics, and success stories from churches that are going “green.”
Author Rebecca Barnes is the Associate for Environmental Ministries at the PC(USA). She is a graduate of Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary with an MDiv and Master of Arts in Religion (MAR) dual degree.
On Sunday May 18, I had the privilege of gathering with this year's young adult Eco-Stewards in Gainesville, FL to explore issues of food, land, water, and faith journeys in the Gainesville area. We had a marvelous time learning about one another and about the local ecosystem as well as discussing how faith connects to the environment.
Eco-Steward Colleen Earp recently published a great reflection on the experience on the Eco-Stewards' blog, and I want to invite you to continue reading it on their blog, and to learn more about this fabulous community:
To begin, Colleen writes, "We toured ...
The Northwest Earth Institute (NWEI) has announced its new discussion course book, Seeing Systems: Peace, Justice and Sustainability, available for pre-order now.
Seeing Systems empowers participants to recognize and respond to the interconnected systems of the world, making effective community action both real and achievable. Designed for use in the classroom and with community groups and faith communities, Seeing Systems offers people a unique opportunity to gather with others to reflect on the state of local and global affairs; discuss how we as individuals can contribute to a more peaceful, just and sustainable world; and then advocate on the issues ...
At the March 9th "Ground for Hope" interfaith environmental gathering in Louisville, KY, leaders of local faith communities created and led a beautiful shared prayer time. With each person speaking from his/her authentic place of faith, we heard and shared the ways we believe, look to holy scripture, hear the Divine voice, and embrace our connection to the world around us as part of our faith. I was very moved, heartened, and grounded by this prayerful sharing that started off our day. We were grounded in hope as we then moved into workshops and discussions of exploring the hard ...
On May 12, Environmental Ministries will have a webinar about "Earth Care in Christian Education." Many Presbyterian congregations are doing wonderful programs, classes, and activities that address our role in God's creation. Mark your calendar for this Monday May 12th noon webinar with the Presbyterian Hunger Program/Environmental Ministries and stay tuned for more information!
Meanwhile, consider these two resources from PCUSA's Congregational Ministries Publishing:
Being Reformed: Stewardship of Creation, by Henry G. Brinton, is a six-session study for adults that explores the biblical bases for our care of creation along with sessions on being environmentally friendly at ...
So far for me this Lent, I am finding it a spiritual practice in and of itself to learn of, and pay attention to, all the many wonderful Lenten resources out there this year. It seems to be a growing movement to connect our inward spiritual disciplines to the broader world that God created and loves.
I have shared with many of you the traditional Lenten resources that I have recommended for years:
This year’s place-based program explores the connection of communities to the land as we look at how Gainesville, Florida utilizes its surrounding natural resources to build life-giving, meaningful relationships. Our time will focus primarily on the interconnected food and water webs of North Central Florida. Our trip will include discussions on local food, faith, nutrition, workers’ rights, intentional Christian communities, sustainability, and the ever-pressing water issues faced by much of this region. The week will consist of service, community dialogue, and an exploration of local areas including but not limited to community gardens producing food for homeless shelters, a ...
GreenFaith has reached a milestone!
GreenFaith: Interfaith Partners in Action for the Earth has facilitated solar arrays on over 25 faith-based sites, and over 40 residences, totaling more than half a megawatt of solar capacity!
To understand the difference this is making in our world: it is like taking cars off the road for more than 16 million miles. GreenFaith is also saving the faith-based sites and homeowners hundreds of thousands of dollars.
If you are faith-based site in one of the following areas, you can gain access to financial support for the solar projects:
Jacksonville Presbyterian Church is gleaning!
David and Lisa Specca are members of the Earth Care Ministry Group at Jacksonville Presbyterian Church. They own a vegetable farm, and along with providing great vegetables to the community, they practice gleaning! The gleaned vegetables go to support New Jersey hunger ministries.
If you would like to read more about Specca Farms and their initiatives to end hunger, here is the link to the Presbytery story, which also contains a link to the newspaper story: http://monmouthpresbytery.com/2013/5537
Thanks for the amazing work you do, Jacksonville Presbyterian Church, and a special thank ...
On July 17, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will launch a free upgrade using an online Portfolio Manger tool. The new Portfolio Manger has a module designed especially for worship facilities.
Here is what is new: Portfolio Manager
Portfolio Manager is the nation’s leading energy performance, used by over 70,000 accounts and 300,000 commercial facilities. The blue and white logo is recognized by 87% of Americans.
Free webinars, starting July 15, are available to provide training on the new Portfolio Manager interface, and you can register at: https://esbuildings.webex.com/. These live training sessions ...
What does God’s earth look like? Who are we called to be?
The United Church of Christ gathered at it’s national gather in Long Beach, California to come up with strategies on how to deal with climate change. The UCC came up with the strategy to divest from fossil fuel companies. This resolution has made the United Church of Christ (UCC) the first major religious denomination to divest!
The resolution states: “The realities of climate change require prophetic and strategic action by people of faith seeking to be faithful to the everlasting covenant God has made with us ...
If you would like a pdf copy of the brochure by email, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
First Presbyterian Church: Memorial Trees
First Presbyterian Church’s Saturday Morning Men's Bible Study group has sponsored a program of planting trees as memorials, or to honor an individual, on their church property. They plant the trees in late fall or early winter to improve the survival rates. First Presbyterian Church is using Tennessee native species to improve our survival rates and longevity.
First Presbyterian Church can make available substantial reference materials to help people select species compatible with their soils, sun and moisture conditions. Two members of their group are master gardeners. They have also engaged the services ...
First Presbyterian Church Palo Alto, CA
On Earth Day, First Presbyterian Church celebrated in worship by making prayer flags for one of the low-water gardens on their church campus. The worship service was focused on their role in caring for creation and they used the following Psalm to guide them as they made the flags:
Praise God from the earth,
you great sea creatures and all ocean depths,
lightning and hail, snow and clouds,
stormy winds that do his bidding,
you mountains and all hills,
fruit trees and all cedars,
wild animals and all cattle,
small creatures and flying birds ...
Trinity Presbyterian Church celebrates being an Earth Care Congregation!
As an Earth Care Congregation, Trinity Presbyterian Church of McKinney, TX, proudly celebrates the many great facets of this ministry! Some unique ways Trinity honors God's creation are: offering reusable shopping bags with Trinity Earth Care logos; selling Fair Trade chocolate; providing ceramic mugs and eco-friendly compostable, biodegradable cups for coffee; sending electronic newsletters; increasing paperless Sunday services; using fair trade Eco-Palms on Palm Sunday; taking field trips to places with earth-friendly practices; giving minutes for mission and bulletin inserts with a creation care focus; diverting approx. 7 cubic yards ...
Warner Memorial Presbyterian Church: Kensington, MD
On February 27, 2013, Warner Memorial held the first of three Wednesday evening Green Film Fest showings.
When no one has signed up to dedicate chancel flowers, Warner Memorial displays green plants instead, and includes "The plants in the chancel today are offered to the glory of God in celebration of our home, Earth."
First Presbyterian Church of Edwardsville, IL: Going Green!
The church has been a supporter of the environment, and has a long program of recycling. All the paper used in their office has a large recycled component. Even though the cost is a little higher, it is important to them to continue with this initiative Recycled content is important. They also have a bin to recycle paper in their parking lot. Over time, they have recycled batteries, eye glasses, CDs, paper and aluminum cans.
There are wonderful things happening in Baltimore Presbytery!
At Maryland Presbyterian Church, the host for our meeting with these great compostable options, they have a native plants garden, worm composting, a demonstration garden for children, and are advocating in their state legislature for wind energy.
At Towson Presbyterian Church, there is ongoing tree planting on hundreds of acres and the church decided to keep its property always sustainable by making a conservation easement. They clean streams, do vegetable gardening, and have reached the top energy efficiency steps possible.
At Woods Presbyterian Church, they have worked on property concerns (which also ...
Shepherdstown Presbyterian Church (Shepherdstown, WV)
Shepherdstown Presbyterian Church had their annual EarthFest at the church in early April. This event was an hour-long mixture of earthy-songs presented in the sanctuary by dynamite local musicians (some from the congregation), punctuated by really moving recitations about earth care. A lot of the focus was on coal-mining and mountaintop removal.
The 2013 daily calendar "Tread Lightly for Lent" is now available for download. Click here to learn more. Individuals and congregations alike are invited to use this resource as a daily reminder that drawing close to God and caring for God's earth go hand in hand. May your Lenten season be blessed!
The Presbyterian Hunger Program is hosting a program for Food Justice Fellows. Consider becoming a Food Justice Fellow or passing along this invitation to someone else.
I really enjoy and appreciate these thoughtful weekly reflections from Rev. Peter Sawtell of Eco-Justice Ministries out of Colorado. Today he writes of "Hope and Community" and I want to share this reflection with you, as well as recommend his good work if you haven't come across it before. A blessed weekend to you all!
As part of the season of Lent, Environmental Ministries is offering "Tread Lightly for Lent," a simple, daily calendar that encourages Presbyterians to reflect theologically about ecojustice and to take action on issues such as water, land, air, people, and other species. Each of the 40 days of Lent has a topic to think about, or do some movement towards, eco-justice. Resource can be used individually as well as in a congregational setting. To download this 2 page resource (if printed back to back), go to: